Monthly Archives: July 2015

Glam Doll


What do you do when you have out-of-town guests

who are experiencing the Twin Cities for the first time?*

*Not necessarily in this order…


#1) You take them out for a Juicy Lucy!

Buffalo Tap California Juicy Lucy

Buffalo Tap California Juicy Lucy

Sorry, Juicy Lucy / Jucy Lucy purists! Our fave is at the Buffalo Tapnot Matt’s Bar nor the 5-8 Club! Having some of the best state-fair-quality cheese curds around, doesn’t hurt this decision either. 😉


{photo by Amber}


2) You let them check out the MOA.*

{*You might even join them, even if you aren’t really a shopper and you’ve sworn off the place… It’s all to get those steps in, right?! Besides, who doesn’t like giant LEGO creations?}


We walked over 3.5 miles in our short visit!

You might even find a pineapple:



3) You try someplace iconic, that you haven’t yet tried…


Glamdoll Donuts is said to be one of the top donut shops in the nation.

I’ve been dying to try this place forever!  I’m so glad the girls were game!


While the bacon-topped donuts were probably the most intriguing…

{photo by Amber}

{photo by Amber}

…the girls and I played it safe.

Sydnie ordered a Dark Angel with vanilla bean cream and chocolate icing, along with a cappuccino.


Amber and I decided to wait an extra 15 minutes to get a Calendar Girl with salted caramel and chocolate.

There were still being made:


The donuts weren’t warm, but the salted caramel in the hole was!


I tilted my donut around to get the caramel to cover the entire top. That way, I could get that caramel goodness in every single bite.

We were all satisfied with this pre-mall-walking fuel. However, we also agreed that the next time we visit, we’ll be a bit more adventurous and try one of the crazier flavors, like the Girl Next Door with provolone and muenster or the Chart Topper with peanut butter and sriracha.

Yes, Glam Doll is another one of those cool places in the Twin Cities to take out-of-town guests.

Where is a unique spot you like to take people who visit you?



Underrated LynLake & Irving


Happy Thirsty Thursday!

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Thirsty Thursday post and we have way too many breweries to talk about! In any case, there are few things I’ve combined together in this post. There is a reason why. It’ll all come together.


Last Sunday, Rob suggested that we go for a 5k walk around Lake Calhoun. There are few other lakes that I enjoy better, if only because they are a little less busy. However, he suggested getting a bite of take-out from Tin Fish (which is right on Lake Calhoun) followed by a walk.

However, when we arrived around noon, parking was difficult to be had! I came up with an idea. I suggested that instead, we dine at Lake & Irving for a little lunch and then go for a walk. There was easy parking near there, too, and I thought Rob would like to try it.


What I didn’t think about was the fact that it was Sunday and brunch would be happening. Doh! Rob isn’t a huge fan of brunch. Luckily, the brunch menu offered both breakfast and lunch items.

I went with a breakfast item with a grapefruit mimosa:

OPEN FACED KALUA PORK TORTA 11.5 duroc kalua pork, sourdough, guacamole, poached egg, chile japones, mixed green salad

OPEN FACED KALUA PORK TORTA – duroc kalua pork, sourdough, guacamole, poached egg, chile japones, mixed green salad – $11.50

How on earth I thought that photo would be a good representation of that dish, I have no idea. I will tell you that the kalua pork was juicy and flavorful and that I ate everything on my plate. This was a much healthier dish than I had expected, too!

Rob – you guessed it – went with a burger:

CHEESEBURGER 12 Pat La Frieda beef, secret sauce, Wisconsin cheddar, Patisserie 46 brioche add Duroc bacon 2

CHEESEBURGER – Pat La Frieda beef, secret sauce, Wisconsin cheddar, Patisserie 46 brioche – $12

Sounds simple, right?!

Well, this may have just jumped up to Rob’s #1 (or #2?) burger in the Twin Cities {a list which he needs to update!}.

He’s been talking about this burger ever since our visit. He said that the meat was not seasoned in any special way; but that flavor combination was just perfect, which includes that incredibly decadent brioche bun. This is like no brioche bun Rob has ever had before. He even liked the fries which our friend Jen recommended he skip when I visited with her. Still, this is perhaps one of the most underrated burgers in the Twin Cities.

We were both content with our lunches, but decided it was time to walk around the lake if we were going to indulge like that!


One of the best things about walking around the lakes in Minneapolis is that once you get half-way, you can’t just quit and go home, you have to finish the loop {or turn around, but then it’d be the same distance with the same view}. It was a hot one on Sunday. So I think we might have opted to quit early if we had the option!

We counted about 37 pupper dawgs. I think on our last walk we counted 92. However this day was much hotter, so it’s good that most dogs are kept at home.

Despite the heat, we decided to do a little further walking around uptown, perhaps to find a new hotspot for a cool beverage and to “check a box”, as Rob puts it.

Then I recalled a brewery that just had to be nearby – the LynLake Brewery. Man, I was coming up with all of the ideas that day! At this point, we had walking for about an hour and a half total, so we hiked back to our car set out to find this new-to-us brew spot.

And we are so glad we did, because this is where we spent a bit of our afternoon. We didn’t have high expectations {and I’m not sure why}, but we were pleasantly surprised!


We’ve never seen LynLake brews served in restaurants nor noticed them in stores. So we are thinking that they don’t distribute (at least not currently) like Dangerous Man. I love that concept because it generally means smaller, more handcrafted beverages and requires consumers to visit in order to drink them!


The interior is spacious and I love the large square bar setup. There is also seating on the rooftop with fire pits, we are told. I’m not sure that fire pits were or needed to be in use on that hot Sunday, however. There was a larger selection of beers, too, than I had expected.


You can’t read all of the descriptions above, but I still think you can probably guess which beer I chose. 🙂


El Tradesman Chipotle Porter

Rob was surprised by how much I enjoyed this beer because it was quite smoky on the front end. Still, it had the perfect spice on the finish that sort of reminded me of the New Belgium Lips of Faith Cocoa Molé.

Rob dug a bit deeper into the menu and tried multiple beers:


The Sideburns Oat Raisin Milk Stout on Nitro should not be missed. His other fave was the Swordsmith Baltic Porter, also on Nitro. This brewery is solid, perhaps the most underrated brewery in Minneapolis.

Due to its location, you probably won’t find a food truck parked outside LynLake Brewery. However, they do have a list of five different restaurants who will be happy to deliver!


And, yes, I had the Spicy Merguez from Prairie Dogs. It brought me back to the South of France, when I studied there in college.

All in all, I’d call this a perfect Sunday Funday.

And now that I’ve been to them all, I finally can differentiate them:

Lake & Irving

What’s the most underrated restaurant or brewery near you?


What Up? My world lately…


You’ve probably thought that I’ve turned this into a Dog-Mom Blog.

But really, there has been very much going on this summer!  Work has been busier than ever. When I get home, workout and cook dinner, there’s not much left of me wanting to get online. This little blog suffers.

But when I’m not doing that, I’ve been doing lots of fun stuff!

Here’s just a tidbit.

More painting!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


And now… wine-making!

I never, ever thought I’d be one to make my own wine. Back when I taught at in-home wine tastings, there was always a guest who would say, “My {insert relative here} makes wine!”

And just thought of it exhausted me. I don’t have that kind of patience. I’d rather just drink the stuff than put in such a huge amount of time, money and effort on something that may not even turn out. Yes, I’m a turn-key kind of girl. The house Rob and I chose to move into together had no renovations required.

But that is not the case with my friend Sally. She’s always been interested in home improvements. And her latest hobby is wine-making. After hanging out with her and her husband one night, they invited us to make wine at their place and let us know when their next fermenter would be available. They had all of the equipment. The only things we would need were:

  1. a wine kit
  2. about 30 wine bottles
  3. purified water


Here is what we chose for our first kit, based on the recommendations at Midwest Supply:



Sally and Ryan made it sooooo incredibly easy for us. The package instructions all sounded like jibberish to me. They had everything set up and ready to go for us, sanitizer and all. Then they led us every step of the way.

It was so much easier than I thought; but I know that I never could have done it without their help. Plus, we didn’t have to buy any equipment.

But that’s just the thing. We liked it so much – depending on how this batch turns out – we might end up becoming kit wine-makers ourselves. After the initial investment in the equipment, the result comes out to just a few dollars per bottle of wine.

We also had the opportunity to help them bottle a batch of Cab-Shiraz (I believe) using a Portuguese Floor Corker:

Portuguese Floor Corker

And after we left, they let us know when things started a bubblin’ or… I guess fermenting is the technical term:


They invited us back this past weekend for Step #2, which involved moving the wine from a primary fermenter into a carboy. But wait, there’s more! Because the primary fermenters were now available, they invited us to make another batch with them!

We chose this one on this go-round because of the online reviews:

Wine Expert Vintners Reserve Shiraz

There are a few other steps involved, but Sally and Ryan have graciously offered to take care of those for us because they take little time. See? No wonder it feels so easy {and fun!} to us.  They sure do spoil us. Thanks, Sally and Ryan!

We get to bottle both batches of wine at the end of August. Then, the waiting begins. This can be six months to one year until they will become drinkable! {See, I knew that would be the hardest part.}

Our friend Jeff makes incredible wine. For our wedding, he and his wife Penny gave us a case of twelve different bottles of his wine. It was one of the best gifts we received. When I used to think about home-made wine, I thought “nothing-special”; but that all changed the first time we tried Jeff’s wine! That guy can’t make a bad bottle. {Or at least he doesn’t share those!} That, combined with the fact that Sally and Ryan were going to help us, made me a lot less reluctant to give it a try.

Have you made your own wine before?

What were your thoughts? Results?

Any tips for us newbies?





Sophie & Shamrock Saturday

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Yes, these two are my babies. {Pronounced Bay-Bayz!} I’d do just about anything for them. They bring so much joy and laughter to our lives. I think they would say the same about their monthly BarkBox.

This month, because it’s July in Minnesota, we opened the BarkBox out on the deck.


The contents are circus themed!


But there is something that already jumped out of this box…


This is the Bearded Lady


Ever since we adopted Shamrock, Sophie hasn’t really played with toys much. I firmly believe that is because Shamrock is now her toy! Berfore that she had always played with toys on her own because she and Benny were never playmates.  😦 However, Sophie and Sham play All. The. Time. It’s wonderful. But that means Sham is the one that usually plays with the toys now.

However, out of the blue, the day after we got the BarkBox, Sophie grabbed Bearded Lady and started shaking her up! She used to like to find the squeaker in toys, but this toy is a little different. It’s not one you squeeze, but shake to make more of a giggle sound. It was confusing her, but she had no problem pawing at it and throwing it around!

Then, of course, there are the treats, the most beloved part of the BarkBox.

Now, I need to pick up some baby carrots to try out the Veggot.

Think your pup would love a BarkBox? Sign up via Sophie & Sham’s link and BOTH you and they will get a free month added to your plan!

Happy Saturday!


Sophie Stitches!


Sophie & Shamrock Saturday

Poor little Jean.

When she went in to the vet for her Comprehensive Exam and yearly dental cleaning, I asked that they take a look at the wart on her back and consider removing it.

Sophie is a Shih Poo (Shih Tzu – Poodle mix). Shih Tzus are known to get little bumps/warts/imperfections on their bodies as they age. Well, Sophie is 10 years old now and has a handful of them.

Does this little sweetheart look 10-years-old?!

Does this little sweetheart look 10-years-old?!

This is the only one I was looking to get removed and not for cosmetic reasons. It is in a place on her back that she can almost scratch – at least a bit. It seems like it is getting bigger, too. I attribute this to her and Sham‘s play sessions. It sometimes get scratched, bleeds and either Sham licks it (GROSS!) or the blood dries up. This is on the regular.

Getting her yearly dental cleaning, which they put her under to do, meant that I only had to pay a bit extra to extend the anesthesia for them to do the surgical procedure to remove the mass.

Now my only worry was that Sham would scratch at or lick the area upon returning home. A cone (or e-collar) was not really going to do anything to protect it; so I had to get Sophie a t-shirt to cover the stitches. It was really difficult to find one that wasn’t too tight and covered the area well enough. Here is what I found…


Oh, yes, this BFF of mine was rescued via Homeward Bound!

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a fan of the color pink. I’ve never been a very girly-girl in that sense, but I’ve never been a tom-boy either. But I’ve always said that if Sophie Jean were my human daughter, I just know that she would be the one wearing pink, frou-frou dresses and jelly shoes. 🙂 So this suits her well.

She seemed to like it just fine, albeit the heat this week. Though, she did lounge in the grass. This is one of my photos I forgot to share of our daylilies on my summer post!


The incision is healing nicely and Sophie gets the stitches out next week.

Happy Saturday!




The summer is flying by!

Here are some excerpts…


Loungin’ on the deck in the sun…


Beggin’ on the deck for some beef sticks…


Savoring Rainier Cherries…


Road Trip!

Fun Family Wedding…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Polka, polka & more polka!

Arrival at the lake…


Where are the chippers?!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A little imbibing…


Some swimming and bobber chasin’


After that trip to Wisconsin and Michigan, I’m still playing catch-up! Still hopin’ to have the energy to write more soon… But until then, I’ll soak up every minute of summer.


At the Lake…


Shamrock & Sophie Saturday

Wow, does time fly. I haven’t been able to keep up since we got back from visiting Rob’s parents in Michigan! While there, Rob brought back one of Benny’s favorite games – chase the bobber. Shamrock has grown to love it now that Benny has passed on…

NOTE: There is no hook on this line! We don’t want to put our little Bugaboo in danger! 😉


Hopefully I can resume normal blogging next week. I have so much to share!

Happy Saturday!